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You are researching flying to Chicago. And you realize…what the hell… this could be a little complicated. Midway or OHare? MDW or ORD? Wait – Chicago has two airports?
Which airport do I fly into?
How do I choose which airport is the best option?
Flying to Chicago
Chicago has two airports – OHare and Midway. You don’t want to mix the two up because they are as different as day and night.
OHare is an international airport. It’s the airport that the world flies into when their destination is Chicago. It is located a half-hour northwest of downtown Chicago (an hour or more in rush hour traffic; 20 minutes late at night with no traffic – driving fast).
It’s busy. It’s big, and it practically has its own landmass. It sits on that is connected to Chicago by an isthmus. No, not an island surrounded by water (actually it’s surrounded by the city of Rosemont), but that’s what it looks like on a map of Chicago.
Go ahead, take a look…the arrow points to O’hare…the circular mass.
For a list of airlines and terminals at OHare, click here.
Shuttle – Go Airport Express offers private and shared-ride shuttle service to and from OHare. You can catch the shuttle outside the baggage claim at each terminal (Door E). Reservations are not necessary but highly recommended. Cost: $40.00/Shared-ride one way (approximately). For more information, click here to be taken to Go Airport Express’ website.
Public Transportation – the fastest and cheapest way to get downtown is by public transportation. The Blue Line “L” can be caught at Terminal 1, 2, and 3 (follow the signs – Trains to the City). If you’re flying into terminal 5 (international flights), take the Airport Transit (Tram) to Terminal 2 then follow signs – Trains to the City. Cost: $5 (approximately). It takes about 40-45 minutes to get downtown. Click here to be taken to the Chicago Transit Authority website.
Midway has recently (maybe in the last two years) added “International.” But it’s more tongue-in-cheek “international.” There are a couple of airlines that fly to the Caribbean and Mexico. So, in theory, I guess you can call Midway an international airport.
Midway Airport is 20 minutes from downtown – 30-40 minutes in rush hour traffic.
It sits smack dab in the middle of the West Lawn neighborhood of southwest Chicago. Midway Airport is big, but compared to O’hare…not really.
To be fair, take a look at where Midway International Airport is located.
For a list of airlines at Midway Airport, click here.
Shuttle – Go Airport Express offers private and shared-ride shuttle service to and from Midway Airport. You can catch the shuttle outside the baggage claim at Door 3 (Lower Level). Reservations are not necessary but highly recommended. Cost: $30.00/Shared-ride one way (approximately). For more information, click here to be taken to Go Airport Express’ website.
Public Transportation – the fastest and cheapest way to get downtown is by public transportation. The Midway Station is connected to the airport via an enclosed walkway. Just follow the signs – Trains to the City. Catch the Orange Line “L” to downtown. Cost: $2.50 (approximately). It takes about 25 minutes to get downtown. Click here to be taken to the Chicago Transit Authority website.
So…What airport should I fly into when flying to Chicago?
It’s all about preference. If you’re flying international, O’hare is your only option.
Delta Airlines flies into both O’hare and Midway, so know which airport you’re flying into when booking.
Midway is closer to downtown Chicago, but only a few airlines fly into this airport – Southwest Airlines is its major airline. Delta Airlines has limited service to Midway.